Mohan R Lavi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 27, 2016

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Convert the cricketing body into a company

Controversies arise during every IPL season without fail. This year, it has been the exclusion of Harsha Bhogle in the commentary team. There have been many theories on why this has happened but they would remain just theories — as in many other things with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the truth will never ever come out.

The BCCI operates on a hush-hush model — a controversy or two flares up annually, some boilerplate responses are given and the game goes on. Recently, the Supreme Court has stepped in whenever matters have threatened to go out of hand in the country’s sporting field. It set up the Lodha Committee to give recommendations on cleaning up the BCCI.

Pitch report

In a 159-page report, the committee called for a complete overhaul of the BCCI. It recommended barring ministers and government officials from holding office in the BCCI and legalising betting. It also suggested shake-up of the BCCI from top to bottom and recommended that a State unit can have only one full member with voting rights in a general body.

To streamline administration, the panel has said no office-bearer can hold two offices. To tighten governance, with particular focus on monitoring the huge finances of the BCCI, it has sought the inclusion of a member from the CAG’s office in the IPL body of nine.

The panel also recommended a cap of three tenures of three years each for BCCI officials, with no two consecutive terms, an age cap of 70 and a steering committee for the formation of a players’ association. For ensuring transparency, it was also suggested that the BCCI be brought under the Right to Information Act. Unsurprisingly, the BCCI told the Supreme Court that it would be extremely difficult to implement all these recommendations, irking the top court.

It is a fact that in addition to the glittering array of trophies, there are a lot of skeletons in the BCCI’s cupboard. The BCCI has been established as a public trust and was not paying any income taxes till the glitzy IPL came along and established that the BCCI was not managing cricket for charity. Post the Lodha report, the BCCI decided to put up names of individuals and organisations to whom they have paid over ₹25 lakh every month on its website — this was its definition of transparency.

A lasting solution

When a company does not want public attention every quarter, it de-lists itself from stock exchanges. On the same cue, if an entity needs to be questioned by the public regularly, it needs to list on the bourses. As a lasting solution, the government should immediately convert the BCCI into a limited company and hold a majority of the shares in it.

Later, it should plan to list the BCCI, which has a balance sheet and profitability that would be the envy of any company. This would ensure that the government gets a handsome premium on its shares. Corporate governance norms, accounting standards and additional disclosures as per the listing agreement would ensure that the BCCI becomes a truly transparent organisation with a corporate structure having a CEO/CFO, et al.

There could be other intangible advantages as well. Instead of betting on the outcome of cricket matches, the betting syndicate could now bet on the share price of the BCCI through a derivative product. Finally, the BCCI will have to consolidate the financials of the State cricket associations it controls; so hopefully issues like the DDCA will not recur.

The writer is a chartered accountant

Published on April 27, 2016
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